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Discussion of alternatives on Robert de Vaux

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Robert de Vaux (Vaux-113)

A Review of the two different versions of Robert de Vaux's life.

There is a distinct shortage of primary sources covering this topic, but some of the secondary sources have source notes which are not legible on transcripts, and facsimile sources which would reveal more details of these notes seem to be in short supply online.

The Robert de Vaux in question was the brother of Hubert and Ranulph, and the son of Harold (although this is under question as Harold is an English name and he came from Normandy in about 1110).

The part of the history that is not disputed relates how Ranulph de Meschynes was granted Cumberland by the King and split it up into Baronies, two of which were awarded to the brothers; Hubert became Lord of Gilsland and Robert became Lord of Dalston [1] [2] [3] [4]

One version has him living in Dalston in Cumberland, and the other living in Norfolk.

As mentioned on the profile, the name Vaux or de Vaux derives from a watercourse or valley, and there may be more that one family of that name from more than one valley. In this case I would submit that there was more than one Robert de Vaux, one in Cumberland and another on the other side of England in Norfolk.

The move from Cumberland to Norfolk is supported by Welles writing in the nineteenth century [2]. Welles describes the move to Dalston Hall in Norfolk, while Dalston Hall was then, and still is, near Carlisle in Cumberland. There does not appear to be a Dalston in Norfolk. Dugdale writing in the seventeenth century also places this Robert in Norfolk. [1]

The problems with the Norfolk argument are:

  • Dalston, sometimes spelt Dirleston, and Dalston Hall were and still are in Cumberland
  • The previous version of this profile had Robert living to the unlikely age of 104. It is most likely that this life span relates to two different persons.
  • There was a De Vaux family in Norfolk probably before this Robert arrived with his brothers in Britain. Altard and Robert de Vaux are mentioned in Domesday (1086) as being involved in various villages in Norfolk and Suffolk, including Pentney, where a Robert de Vaux founded a priory in about 1140. [5]

The clincher for this argument is the connection with Pentney in Domesday and the founding of the Priory a century later. It is submitted that it is too much of a coincidence that two different de Vaux families were prominent in this small Norfolk village within a century.

  1. 1.0 1.1 Dugdale, William, Sir, 1605-1686., 2003, The baronage of England, or, An historical account of the lives and most memorable actions of our English nobility in the Saxons time to the Norman conquest, and from thence, of those who had their rise before the end of King Henry the Third's reign deduced from publick records, antient historians, and other authorities / by William Dugdale ..., Oxford Text Archive, http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12024/A36794. (Accessed March 5 2021)
  2. 2.0 2.1 History of the Welles Family in Britain by Albert Welles Press of John Wilson and son Boston 1874 at the Office of the House Clerk, Connecticut General Assembly on https://www.cga.ct.gov/hco/books/History_of_the_Welles_Family.pdf (Accessed March 5 2021)
  3. The Battle Abbey Roll by the Duchess of Cleveland John Murray, London, 1889 in Stanford University Library https://www.google.co.uk//edition/The_Battle_Abbey_Roll/yV8JAAAAIAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&pg=PA294&printsec=frontcover (Accessed March 5 2021)
  4. NNN Daniel Lysons and Samuel Lysons, 'Parishes: Caldbeck - Carlatton', in Magna Britannia: Volume 4, Cumberland (London, 1816), pp. 50-55. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/magna-britannia/vol4/pp50-55 [accessed 5 March 2021]. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/magna-britannia/vol4/liii-lv
  5. Place name: Pentney, Norfolk Folio: 173r Little Domesday Book Domesday... https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D7298067 (Accessed March 5 2021)

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